Proliferative cells in the rat developing neocortical grey matter: new insights into gliogenesis

Ramona Frida Moroni, Francesco Deleo, Maria Cristina Regondi, Laura Madaschi, Alida Amadeo, Carolina Frassoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The postnatal brain development is characterized by a substantial gain in weight and size, ascribed to increasing neuronal size and branching, and to massive addition of glial cells. This occurs concomitantly to the shrinkage of VZ and SVZ, considered to be the main germinal zones, thus suggesting the existence of other germinative niches. The aim of this study is to characterize the cortical grey matter proliferating cells during postnatal development, providing their stereological quantification and identifying the nature of their cell lineage. We performed double immunolabeling for the proliferation marker Ki67 and three proteins which identify either astrocytes (S100β) or oligodendrocytes (Olig2 and NG2), in addition to a wider panel of markers apt to validate the former markers or to investigate other cell lineages. We found that proliferating cells increase in number during the first postnatal week until P10 and subsequently decreased until P21. Cell lineage characterization revealed that grey matter proliferating cells are prevalently oligodendrocytes and astrocytes along with endothelial and microglial cells, while no neurons have been detected. Our data showed that astrogliogenesis occurs prevalently during the first 10 days of postnatal development, whereas contrary to the expected peak of oligodendrogenesis at the second postnatal week, we found a permanent pool of proliferating oligodendrocytes enduring from birth until P21. These data support the relevance of glial proliferation within the grey matter and could be a point of departure for further investigations of this complex process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4053-4066
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Cerebral cortex
  • Gliogenesis
  • Grey matter
  • Ki67
  • Postnatal development
  • Proliferating cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology


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